5 Amazing Things to Do in Colmar, France

Picture children’s tales such as Hansel and Gretel and you kind of have an idea of what these cottages look like, now what if I told you that you can get to one such place all within 3 hours away from Paris, France? If you are in the mood to venture beyond the glamour and glitz in the capital, why not hop on a train and venture eastwards?

Colmar is located in the Alsace region of France, which is in the northeastern part of the country; bordering Switzerland and Germany. The Alsace region is better known for its wine, Christmas markets, and delicious food.

I visited in May 2022, and as most travelers would agree, you would want to get to a place early in the morning to avoid crowds!

Getting there

I was staying in Strasbourg, so getting to Colmar was just a short train ride away. It takes about 30 minutes and there are trains heading towards Colmar almost every 20 minutes. From Colmar station, the old town and its main attractions are just about a 15 to 20 minutes walk away. I reached Colmar at around 10 am, and the town was just waking up and I could enjoy a leisurely walk.

If you are traveling from Paris, Colmar is just about a 3-hour train ride away.

Gare De Colmar (Colmar Train Station)

1. Explore the Old Town

The medieval town has been in existence since the 13th century and one can only imagine the bustling lives of its residents. Wandering through the old town, as it introduces itself to visitors with its cobblestoned streets meandering through alleyways and canals, is truly the best way of exploring Colmar.

As you explore the town, don’t forget to look down. You will find these brass (I think) way finders or markers and if the graphic looks familiar to you, that’s because it is! Colmar is the birthplace of Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, the creator of the Statue of Liberty. These markers now point you to the main attractions in Colmar and also leads you to the Bartholdi’s museum. If you fancy, you can also head out further into town where there is a replica of the Statue of Liberty.

2. Visit Little Venice

Pictures don’t do this beautiful scene justice. The classic Alsatian architecture lined along the banks of the canal greets visitors and I must have spent some time just soaking in the beauty of the neighbourhood, the colours, and its quiet surroundings.

3. Visit Marché Couvert

I make it a point to visit local markets whenever I travel, it’s one of the easiest ways of understanding the local culture and people. The Marché Couvert or “Covered Market” dates back to 1865 and in its current state, a cozy marketplace featuring stalls selling flowers, produce, cheese, meat, fish, and even pastries. There are also a number of food stalls if you are feeling a little bit peckish or craving some beer.

Turn on CC

At one of its corners, you can find the Fontaine du Petit Vigneron, the statue fountain was made by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, yup, the same guy who made the Statue of Liberty.

4. Pfister House

Pfister House

If you are a Studio Ghibli fan, then you might be familiar with Howl’s Moving Castle, the Pfister House was featured in the film at around the 6:50 mark when Wizard Howl and Sophie were running away from their pursuers. The Pfister House was built in the 1530s and restored in the 1800s and owned by merchants through the years.

Pfister House

The Pfister House represents a radical architectural style that features a two-storey corner oriel (like a bay window) and a wooden gallery.

5. Visit Koifhus

Koifhus

The Koifhus used to be the Customs House and oversaw trading activities in Colmar, and when I was there, it seemed like it also plays host to festive markets such as this Easter market.

Food

Tartes Flambées

Well, I only had lunch, so I can’t say much for the rest of the restaurants, but I had the most delicious Tartes Flambées at La Stub. The service was excellent and the alfresco dining was most enjoyable.

How much time to spend?

Well, it depends! Depends on what kind of traveler you are and your schedule. I arrived at 10 am and left at 4 pm with an hour of lunch. I highly recommend Colmar, as a day trip whether you are traveling from Strasbourg or Paris.

Colmar is one of the most beautiful places I’ve visited and its attractions are easily accessible by walking, its proximity and accessibility by train is a plus for travelers without motor transport.

Thanks for having me Colmar!

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